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Linda-Marie Singer is...THE LIVEWIRE

Linda-Marie Singer - Click to Enlarge The Dead Sea

Living It Up In The Dead Sea

Click to Enlarge By Linda-Marie Singer  - Email: - Web:

Living it up in the Dead SeaDEAD SEA, ISRAEL -- Ted Turner and his wife Jane Fonda landed so close to the Dead Sea that they could almost taste the salt. The celebrated couple, known for their frenetic lifestyle, came to Israel - and especially to the Moriah Plaza Dead Sea Hotel - in search of pure rest. They got it.

From the moment they arrived they were in good company, Biblically speaking. All right, so publicists weren't around 4,000 years ago to promote the Dead Sea as a vacation spot, yet it immediately caught on as a place famous for its health cures and relaxation. Consider this: Cleopatra baked there in its rich black mud. King Herod rejuvenated himself in the mineral water, while the Queen of Sheeba used Dead Sea salts for therapeutic bathing.

What'll It Be?

So what would it be for Turner and Fonda? A dip in the sulfur pool ($13) providing the body with vital minerals? A skin-nourishing mud pack ($29)? Inhalation treatments ($9) to soothe headaches? Or, would the twosome merely end up as most visitors have -- just bobbing up and down in the unsinkable water? (no charge)

The question is addressed by Shraga Kelson, the hotel's Spa Manager. Kelson, who since 1986 has made it his business to know every bobber, runs through the therapeutic effects of floating effortlessly in the Dead Sea.

"When there's no gravity, your body has a chance to relax, and the stress goes away. That's it. We've even more astonishing results with psoriasis and rheumatoid sufferers. But don't take my word. Every person here will tell you that water therapy works so quickly, that your chronic soreness isn't so chronic anymore. Perhaps the biggest surprise is to watch how so many people undergo a personality change, once they're no longer in pain."

Jane Fonda may not have recycled her personality while at the Dead Sea, but she certainly luxuriated in its non-stress environment. For unlike any other tourist attraction, the Dead Sea occupies the lowest point on earth (1,290' below sea level), and has the deepest concentration of minerals of any place in the world. With 50% more concentrated bromine, you sleep soundly. With 15% more magnesium than the ocean, your skin is toned and refreshed. Combine all this with lower altitude, high temperatures, low rainfall and pollen-free atmosphere, and presto! - the dry and oxygen-rich air will work on your body and soul.

What Did You Say Your Name Was?

"I have worked on so many bodies of celebrities, athletes, politicians, and CEOs" says Sara, the owner of the renowned Beauty Shop in the Moriah Plaza Dead Sea Hotel, "that I can never remember all their names."

Sara, the no-nonsense Rumanian-born expert-owner, has been in the beauty business for 40 years.

"Jane Fonda. Sylvester Stallone. Jodie Foster. I've helped them all."

She smiles a tranquil smile and continues working on a French woman who signed up for a mini-lift costing $46 - the salon's most popular treatment that works on all aspects of the face and neck.

Living It Up In The Dead Sea with a Colorful Mudpack"Here," she says, handing the client a mirror that magnifies every crinkle, crease, and crevice. "Do you see this?" Sara intones. The mirror does all the talking.

"Will the treatment take very long?" the customer asks.

"You can't measure beauty in time," comes the reply. Then, before the guest can ask more questions, her face is silenced - stiffened by a masque of herbs and oils.

"Now you will relax," Sara says, and pulls the curtain tightly around her for privacy.

Foster In Foster Grants

From another part of the shop comes a voice: "Remember what happened with Jodie Foster?" Sara looks straight ahead and then smoothes back her grey-toned hair, which allows the visitor a better glimpse at her flawless complexion.

"Was Jodie the one with sunglasses?" she asks.

Yes, that was the one, and she proceeds to tell the story of a shy, quiet young woman who wanted a facial while wearing sunglasses and a big hat.

"And I told her this was out of the question. But she persisted. Then she revealed her name and said she didn't want any fans to bother her. So I asked my daughter in Hebrew: 'Who is she?'

"My daughter laughed. 'Mother, you don't know Jodie Foster? She just won the Academy Award!'

"Okay, so I pulled the curtain around her, and physically removed her sunglasses and hat. Then we got going."

The bell rings and Sara goes back to her French patron whose restorative masque has made her look like an extra from a Science Fiction flick. Within minutes, she emerges from the chrysalis and appears ten years younger.

Human Ecology

"After their wrinkles disappear and they feel youthful again, they usually come to me," claims Professor Yehuda Kedar. In 1969, the Israeli worked in Houston with NASA's astronauts, but today, the septuagenarian has his office in the Moriah and dedicates himself to improving the quality of a person's life.

"My system is so easy," he begins. "It's a combination of correct physical activities, proper nutrition, and cardiac relaxation." He has been trying to sell his program to Israelis, but his greatest pupils remain Europeans and Americans.

Kedar, a Human Ecologist, points out that his country's greatest killer is not politics, but heart disease. "It's amazing to think that in Israel 100 people die daily from heart-related illnesses. No wonder. They overeat and smoke and never think it will be a problem. That's when I tell them, 'Your body doesn't belong to you. It belongs to your husband, your wife, your children.'

"In just one visit I can teach a 3-minute walk that will save your life. I can also take you through a Guided Imagination System that has a permanent calming effect. So? In a short space of time you'll feel like new."

Everything but the Skin Damage

Dorian Kathein, Moriah Plaza's General Manager, agrees with the professor. "We have it all," brags the 35-year-old Sabra (native born Israeli). "Look at our location. Two and one half hours from Jerusalem by car, two hours away to the Red Sea and Eilat, and only twenty minutes to Masada (the heroic Jewish stronghold dating back to the Romans).

"I'd say here we have everything except skin damage. The oxygen-rich atmosphere filters out the ultra violet rays, so you never burn, just tan.

"We're doing such a good job that our business is 95% repeaters," declares Kathein, "regulars, who, after spending 14 days turn around and say, 'See you in six months.'"

Have Fonda and Turner been back? Kathein points to the private air strip outside the 4 star resort. With typical Israeli bravado he adds, "If they know what's good for them."

How To Get There

TWA, British Air, Swiss Air, Tower Air all fly to Israel, but El Al offers the most security of any airline in the world.

Where to stay in the Dead Sea

Moriah Plaza Dead Sea Hotel
Mobile Post Dead Sea
Neve Zohar, Dead Sea 86910, Israel.

Call: 011-972-07-584221
Fax: 011-972-07-584-238
OR from North America: 1-800-221-0203


  • 7 Night Beauty & Relaxation Spa Package:
    $929-$1,180 per person (airfare extra)
    Full facial treatment, Reflexology, Manicure & Pedicure, Shampoo and hair set; 5 dry massages, 5 Mineral water pool treatments, Mineral steam facial, and 8 group fitness sessions.
  • 7 Night Rheumatic Treatment Spa Package:
    $854-$1,025 per person (airfare extra)
    1 medical consultation, 6 Sulfur pool treatments, 3 mud pack treatments, 3 dry massages.

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Linda-Marie Singer "The LIVEWIRE" for Travel Watch. Former President of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, and created the national writers conference, "The Days of Wine & Proses." She is a travel and entertainment reporter living in the San Francisco Bay Area. (More about this writer.)

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Last Revised: Friday, May 15, 2015 06:38:58 AM
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